Governor Northam announced today a state of emergency on Capitol Square for Monday, January 20th, and a ban on the carrying of firearms and other weapons.
House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, Republican Caucus Chair Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, and Republican Whip Jay Leftwich, R-Chesapeake, issued the following statements:
“Tens of thousands of Virginians are expected to visit Richmond Monday to assemble and petition their government,” said House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert. “While we fully expect this to be peaceful, there are legitimate concerns of a few bad actors hijacking the rally. Law enforcement says those agitators are acting on their own volition and are not part of the busloads of Virginians visiting the Capitol. While we are grateful for the precautions taken by law enforcement, the Governor’s actions will unfortunately impede the ability of people to exercise not only their Second Amendment rights, but their First Amendment rights as well.”
“This year’s expanded presence is in response to the numerous pieces of legislation that would roll back Virginians’ Second Amendment rights,” said House Republican Caucus Chair Kathy Byron. “Second Amendment Lobby Day has occurred without incident for as long as I’ve been a member of the General Assembly. Precautions against potential agitators are appropriate, but Virginians should be made to feel welcome at their Capitol, not unwanted.”
“A large number of Virginians are expected to gather on Monday to express their opinion about proposed firearms legislation,” said House Republican Whip Jay Leftwich. We respect the concerns of law enforcement as to the threats they’ve identified, and hope that these procedures will not discourage our friends, neighbors, and family members from peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights to assemble and petition their government for the redress of grievances.”